Parents of Prospective MBA Students Demonstrate Increasing Involvement Throughout the Admissions Application Process

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Admissions officers from top U.S. business schools address emerging trend of helicopter parents in the admissions process at first annual AIGAC conference.

When parents lead their child through the process, this lack of introspection often emerges in the applicant's admissions essays or evaluative interview.

Yet another emerging trend in helicopter parent behavior has recently surfaced as the millennial generation, or those students born in or after 1982, begins to apply to business schools. According to graduate school admissions officers at the first annual Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) conference, helicopter parents are now inserting themselves into the MBA application process with unusual implications.

Scott Shrum, director of MBA admissions research of Veritas Prep and AIGAC spokesperson, and other admissions consultants report that parents are increasingly initiating the admissions consulting process on behalf of their children to better prepare them for success in their chosen MBA program.

"Graduate school admissions officers are becoming very sensitive to how well an applicant has defined his or her career goals and reasons for wanting to attend business school separate from those of their parents," explains Shrum. "When parents lead their child through the process, this lack of introspection often emerges in the applicant's admissions essays or evaluative interview."

Younger MBA students tend to lean heavily on their parents when it comes to making important life decisions. A 2006 survey by Graduate Management Admission Council reports that about 65 percent of students under the age of 24 say they are likely to use their friends and family as resources when deciding to pursue an MBA.

While the intentions of over-involved helicopter parents are generally benevolent, such intervention can negatively impact their student's chances of admission. According to Veritas Prep, there are certain steps MBA applicants with helicopter parents can take to position themselves as serious candidates for admission at the leading U.S. business schools:

1. Understand the value of an MBA. Admissions officers look closely for evidence that applicants have really thought through their career goals and why an MBA is the right degree for them.
2. Be clear about the importance of pursuing an MBA now. Applicants who can articulate why now is the time to pursue an MBA, rather than in two or three years, have a distinct advantage.
3. Highlight leadership experiences. Younger applicants may not yet have led a team or managed others, but successful applicants need to emphasize other instances of leadership in their past, including on the job and in school.
4. Demonstrate maturity. Any successful applicant can show that they will be a positive addition to the classroom. For younger applicants, this is especially important in demonstrating the emotional and professional maturity needed to be a good classmate and project teammate.

Held June 18-19, 2008 in Chicago, AIGAC's first annual conference provided graduate admissions consultants the opportunity to meet with peers to discuss trends in the rapidly evolving admissions consulting landscape. Topics discussed included the need to manage clients' expectations, the importance of maintaining high ethical standards and the opportunity to use technology to better serve consulting clients.

About Veritas Prep:
Veritas Prep is a leading GMAT prep provider that offers effective learning programs to help students enhance GMAT scores and gain admission into the top 30 business schools. Founded in 2002 by graduates from the Yale School of Management, Veritas Prep offers live GMAT prep instruction in more than 70 cities worldwide, as well as interactive online courses. In addition to the most comprehensive GMAT prep courses available, Veritas Prep offers industry-leading admissions consulting to applicants seeking admission to the world's most competitive business schools. To learn more, visit http://www.veritasprep.com.

About AIGAC:
The Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants promotes high ethical standards and professional development amongst graduate admissions consultants, increases public understanding of graduate admissions consulting, and enhances communication with complementary organizations and entities. Its membership now comprises 50 consultants from nine countries, including the U.S., Japan, Mexico, China, Korea and Israel. For more information, visit http://www.aigac.org/.

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Lisa Weiner
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